February 3: "The Warlords" / "The Space Museum"

(The Crusade episode 4 & The Space Museum episode 1)

Back to telesnaps and the soundtrack for "The Warlords".  It's odd -- I came to the realization while watching this episode that Barbara's storyline is actually meant to be the main one.  She spends her time hiding from El Akir in the harem but is betrayed by one of the girls.  El Akir sounds like he's going to take his revenge, but then Haroun ed-Diin arrives and slays El Akir, letting Ian take Barbara back to the safety of the TARDIS.  Poor Barbara: the last couple times she's traveled back in time she's been captured and sold into slavery each time.  Meanwhile the Doctor and Vicki both get to lark about and essentially have extended holidays.  Sometimes life just isn't fair.

The Doctor berates the Earl of Leicester. ("The Warlords" –
from Doctor Who Photonovels: The Crusade - Episode Four)
But as I was saying, Barbara's storyline must be the main one because it's the only one that gets any sort of resolution.  King Richard's plan to create peace through marriage fell apart last episode, and there's no alternate plan or outcome.  We leave King Richard in the same position he was when we found him, and the Doctor's assurances to him that he'll see Jerusalem fall a bit flat -- especially when we know, as the Doctor informs us, that he won't actually be able to capture the city.

The Crusade is a marvelous story, and it's a real shame that only half of it exists in the archive, because what we can see is magnificent, and what we can hear suggests that the rest was just as wonderful.  All the actors involved are utterly committed to their roles, and the script lends the proceedings a gravitas and depth to match.  Only at the end, when you realize that there can't be a denouement for Richard the Lionheart's storyline, does it disappoint.

After "The Warlords" it was time for "The Space Museum", and yes, that is a region 2 copy in the picture there.  It was at this point today that I learned that my region-free DVD player had finally given up the ghost, so a little research and a trip to Target later I had a replacement and was ready to resume.

"The Space Museum" is a striking episode.  It starts oddly, with the TARDIS travellers frozen in time before suddenly being in their usual clothes, instead of the 12th-century garb they were just wearing (Ian says it's 13th century, but Richard the Lionheart was in Jaffa in 1191).  Yet the Doctor is completely unconcerned by this: "All this fussation about a change of clothes.  You know, it's so simple.  It’s time and relativity, my dear boy.  Time and relativity.  That’s where the answer lies."  After that an intriguing mystery arises: they can't hear anything but themselves on this new planet, they don't leave footprints, and they can't even seem to touch anything.  And not only that, but no one else can see them.  Meanwhile, people walk into rooms with our heroes, have silent conversation without noticing them, and then leave.  It's all very eerie and quite effective, director Mervyn Pinfield creating a successful atmosphere of tension, with a silent dread.  Then the Doctor and company learn that they're in the future, and they see themselves in display cases, a part of the space museum they've been exploring.  It's quite a worrying thought.  Then, with some strange music and sound, time catches up and they arrive.  But will they be able to prevent the future they've just witnessed?